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Eight things Uhuru can learn from Magufuli

Tanzania’s newly elected President John Pombe Magufuli is changing the state of the nation, though critics argue that he may run out of steam a few years into his term.

But the fact is that the President of the largest East African country by territorial size is setting standards never before seen in the region.

Neighbouring Kenya is on the rocks under the leadership of the Jubilee government. The Uhuru Kenyatta regime has failed in various measures to contain corruption within the cabinet, wastage in government spending, deteriorating living standards, insecurity and rising ethnic disharmony.

Here are eight things that Kenya’s President Kenyatta can learn from Tanzania’s newbie Dr John Pombe Magufuli.

1.Empower envoys so as to cut down on foreign trips.

Three days after President Magufuli’s inauguration, he banned all non-essential travels by government officials and ordered high commissioners and ambassadors to fully take over government engagements in the international system.

Kenya’s foreign missions have of late been ‘idle’ as entourages government officials keep travelling abroad for every inter-government conference and meeting.

2. Reduce the number of officials going on essential foreign trips

President Magufuli, during his address to Parliament, declared that it would not be business as usual on foreign travels. He restricted business class flight tickets to the President, Vice President and Prime Minister only.

President Kenyatta should borrow a leaf and to reduce the size of entourages during essential foreign trips. The size of  joy riders accompanying him has lately been ballooning.

3. Delegate on semi-essential foreign trips

It is cheaper for the Foreign CS or Deputy President to represent the country at a high level meeting compared to having the entire security team that accompanies the President.

During the recent Forum for China-Africa Cooperation in South Africa, President Magufuli sent Vice President Samia Suluhu with a lean delegation of only six members. Kenya was represented by dozens of officials among them President Kenyatta.

4. Ban government events in privately-owned hotels

President Magufuli ordered a cancellation of meetings and conferences for public servants held in privately-owned hotels.  All government meetings were henceforth to be held in ministerial boardrooms and publicly owned facilities.

In Kenya, the number of breakfast meetings organised by ministries is soaring and the amount of money splashed during conferences in posh hotels has significantly increased.

5. Cut down on state events, dinners and luncheons
President Magufuli cancelled Independence Day celebrations and instead redirecting funds allocated to the fete towards refurbishing a hospital.

In Kenya, millions of shillings are used every year to celebrate Madaraka, Mashujaa and Jamuhuri days despite the cash crisis and corruption facing the country.

6. Create a thriving environment for businesses
High costs of production have resulted in retrenchments and higher costs of living as household prices of goods increase. President Magufuli stated during a meeting with the private sector that he would not tolerate bureaucratic and corrupt officials who make it hard for businessmen to explore new opportunities.

7. Crack the whip on Parliament
The Kenyan Parliament spent huge amounts of money on non-essentials travels and conferences and has routinely  intimidated any official who tries to reduce its expenditure.

President Magufuli slashed the inaugural parliament cocktail budget from Tsh250 million to just Tsh5 million and redirected the funds to equipping a hospital.

Kenyan Parliament spends a lot of money annually on foreign trips that include the recent hilarious catering benchmarking trip to Asia and Europe.

8. Crack the whip on corrupt government officials
President Magufuli recently suspended the Tanzania Revenue Authority Commissioner General over unpaid taxes amounting to Tsh80 million for 349 containers. In Kenya, it takes months of public outcry for a government official who has failed to account for billions of public funds to be suspended, with others even opting to resign due to public pressure and not as a result of the President suspending them.